Owner of Company Used Vile Language To Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss who publically cusses you:

What can you do if the owner of a company cusses you out like a dog in front of other coworkers and customers, using vile, demeaning language?

Signed, Treated Like A Dog

Dear Treated Like A Dog:

There are probably many issues going on with this situation and your question doesn’t make those clear. My first thought, of course, is that the best way to respond is to do as Dr. Gorden often recommends and “vote with your feet” by leaving a workplace like that.If the person yelling at you is the owner of the company you have no one higher to go to, so you can’t make a complaint. I doubt this was the first time this has happened, so it isn’t likely going to improve and at some point you will be yelled at again.

There is no law or regulation about that kind of treatment unless there is some issue related to EEO matters. If you think there is a gender, race or ethnicity connection you should ask a local attorney for a free consultation to see if there have been violations of the law. But,it’s possible that this is the first time this has happened and you are wanting to keep it from happening again. If so, you will need to communicate about it to the owner and make it clear how upset, hurt, offended and shocked you were about his behavior.

I’m always amazed at how many people believe their rages are acceptable. But that’s mostly because people sort of slink off and don’t respond, out of fear or frustration.If you had made a mistake or caused a serious problem, you can mention that while you understand how angry he was, you were upset with yourself. His language and demeaning behavior wasn’t needed for you to do better. You might want to mention the negative reactions you observed in customers and coworkers, as a way to let him know how he is viewed by others.

You may also need to be so firm about it that he feels you WILL quit if it happens again. If you are a valued employee that may be the one thing that will stop him. If you are not a valued employee he may tell you so when you’re talking to him! You can then decide whether you want to keep working there or if you have alternatives.If you and your coworkers all have dealt with this issue, maybe a combined effort will help. When he realizes he is likely to lose most of his employees at once, he may wake up to the fact that he is going to lose his business if he can’t treat people with courtesy.

I wish there was some clear way to advise you that would stop this from happening again and would get an apology from your employer, but that might not be possible. You know your situation best, so maybe some of the things I’ve mentioned here can suggest ideas to you and you can develop them further.Best wishes to you as you deal with this.

Tina Lewis Rowe